8 Easy Ways To Reduce Your Home’s Carbon Footprint This Earth Day (And Every Other Day)
April 22 is Earth Day, and that means its time to think about your home’s carbon footprint. Is your home energy efficient? Are you taking advantage of the latest technology to help the environment? How can you make your home greener this year?
Here are eight strategies for reducing your home’s carbon footprint in 2015:
Perform a home energy audit – Cost: $0-800
The best way to determine whether or not your home is energy efficient is to perform a home energy audit, either on your own or with an energy audit professional. A home energy audit will help determine the energy efficiency of your home and energy-saving techniques you can implement to make your home greener.
Seal gaps around doors and windows – Cost: $5-100
Doors and windows are the most likely spots for energy leakage. In order to make your home greener, test the seals around doors and windows to see if your home is losing valuable energy.
An easy test: Light a stick of incense and slowly wave it around the seals of the windows and doors. If the smoke is sucked out of your home, you need to either caulk the seals or install weatherstripping like foam or plastic.
Install high efficiency furnace filters – Cost: $15-100
Furnace filters are an important part of an energy efficient home. High efficiency furnace filters capture dust particles and keep the air free of dust and other airborne particles that can make your family sick. They also ensure that the home’s HVAC system continues to run efficiently.
As older, inefficient furnace filters trap dust, they become clogged quickly and slow down the passage of air through the system, making it much less efficient. Consider replacing older furnace filters with MERV 8 high-efficiency filters to maximize savings.
Use portable fans and heaters when climates are temperate – Cost: $50-250
Whether it’s running an AC unit in the spring or a heating system in the fall, there’s a cheaper way to cool and heat your home in more temperate months. Operating an HVAC system is not only costly, but the energy it uses impacts the environment. When possible, use portable fans, ceiling fans, and occasionally portable heaters to make your home more comfortable.
Install an attic fan and beef up your attic’s insulation – Cost: $65-1,600
The heat inside your home rises. Combine that with a dark-colored roof that absorbs the sun’s rays, and you get an attic that’s much warmer than the rest of your house. If the attic in your home is improperly insulated, extra heat could be making the HVAC system work harder, costing you money.
Consider having a professional install better insulation in your attic. If that’s too expensive, think about installing an attic fan to push hot air out of your attic and reduce how hard the HVAC system has to work.
Install a tankless water heater – Cost: $1,400-2,100
Traditional water heaters are energy guzzlers. They use gas or electricity to continuously heat the home’s water supply, even when you’re not using it.
Tankless water heaters are like the electric car of water heaters. They use electricity to heat only the water that’s needed, when it’s needed. Tankless water heaters keep energy usage under control, saving homeowners hundreds over the lifetime of the unit.
Consider installing a geothermal cooling system – Cost: $3,000-4,000
A geothermal cooling system uses stable underground temperatures created by absorption of the sun’s rays to provide cheap, efficient heating and cooling to the home. Water runs in a loop through the system, heating or cooling the home without wasting energy, making your home’s HVAC system greener.
Replace old appliances and equipment with ENERGY STAR equipment. – Cost: $75-6,000 or more
ENERGY STAR rated products reduce energy usage and keep harmful greenhouse gasses out of the environment. The EPA estimates that over the last 20 years, ENERGY STAR products have kept almost two billion metric tons of greenhouse gasses out of our atmosphere. Combine that with the energy savings you receive from installing more efficient equipment in your home, and you’re on your way to a greener home.
Implement these eight strategies to make your home more energy efficient and you’ll be one step closer to a greener life.
What green strategies do you employ in your home to help save the environment? How often do you think about your home’s carbon footprint?